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Nine Algerian soldiers killed in militant ambush

Nine Algerian soldiers have been killed in a militant ambush, the country's defence ministry said.

The ambush, blamed on Islamic extremists, in the rugged Ain Defla province south-west of the capital of Algiers came after a string of successes by the army against the country's long-running insurgency.

The ministry's statement said the army conducted search operations after the attack, which also wounded two soldiers. It said the ambush only reinforced the army's determination to stop the militants.

Al-Qaida's North Africa branch claimed responsibility for the attack, putting the death toll at 14 and saying it came after army claims that the insurgency had been defeated.

Algeria has been fighting Islamic radicals, largely in remote areas, since the 1990s.

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